Archive for May, 2013

“I’ve got the magic in me.” -direct quote from Billy Kaplan

Now normally, I’d be lamenting the end of another month while at the same time joyfully expressing my love of the comics that came out this week…but May has five Wednesdays this time around, and DC shot its wad a bit early. So, I suppose that y’all can consider this an early warning. If I can’t think of something current and interesting to talk about next week, there may not be a post, as all DC is putting out for the fifth week of May are annuals for series’ I don’t read.

Ah, as for the lateness of this post, well…I guess I should come clean. I love independent comics. I probably love them more than superhero comics at this point, and I’ve spent the last few months building up my Los Bros Hernandez collection. Yesterday I picked up the twelfth volume of their Love and Rockets collection, Poison River, done entirely by Gilbert Hernandez about his best-known character, Luba. I got home around 10 pm and spent the next three hours devouring the entire book, before even touching the actual new comics I bought. But really, can any of you blame me? It’s always good to look outside one’s comfort zone, and trust me, there’s nothing on the market further from DC Comics’ new 52 than Love and Rockets.

I wanted to kick things off with a bang by looking at Bruce’s confrontation with Talia…but unfortunately, that’s to be put off another month. Grant Morrison wasn’t involved with the 11th issue of Batman Incorporated at all, despite being the creator of the two protagonists, Jiro Osamu (the Batman of Japan) and Shy Crazy Lolita Canary. Instead, we get an issue written by the usual artist, Chris Burnham, and an artist by the name of Jorge Lucas. If the name doesn’t ring a bell for the usual DC reader, have no fear! Lucas is yet another artist DC has drafted in from another company, this time Top Cow, though he has done work for Marvel in the past. As for the story itself, it’s not bad. A regular Bat-style bad guy punch-em-up with no real detective work thrown in (that’s left to the computers, don’t you know), and a cute look into Jiro and Canary’s size-challenged romance. Though seriously, this issue was originally solicited to be a direct continuation of #10, don’t do that again, DC.

It’s winter in Gotham! Well, sort of. This month’s issue of Li’l Gotham is full to bursting with celebration as Mr. Freeze learns the true meaning of the holiday season (hint: it isn’t kidnapping children), and the Gotham Girls have a crime-free night on the town…depending on how loosely you interpret the word “crime”. Nyugen and Fridolfs deliver yet another adorable issue of what I’m not even beginning to hesitate to call my favorite thing from DC right now. Be sure to come back next month for another two installments, all for $2.99! As far as digital-to-print comics go, that’s bargain basement, baby!

So there were some panels floating around earlier this week of Billy putting a gun in his mouth. His reasoning was that if he was dead, all his spells would come undone, and Loki would no longer have his powers. I’m going to be honest, those panels sent me into panic attack mode. Why? Because this is Kieron Gillen at the typewriter, kiddies. He would do it. Of all the talent Marvel has in their stable right now, I doubt there’s a creator out there who is quite as good at causing pain to comic fans as this guy. I mean, his last big writing job for Marvel, Journey into Mystery, is commonly nicknamed Journey into Misery by the fans of the book. If that’s not a telling sign of a man who wants to make you cry, I don’t know what is. 

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Fuck you.
That being said! As far as closing issues to first arcs go, this one was quite the winner! While not quite destroyed, the Mother parasite has been beaten back to the point of nonexistence. This is a good thing! Unfortunately, in order to keep her that way, none of the Young Avengers are allowed to go back to New York City until Loki and Billy can figure out a way to eradicate her completely. This is a bad thing! So, parental distress, check. Suicide attempt, check. Constant reminders that Little Loki is not a good guy, nor looking out for the group’s best interests, check check. Um. At least Billy got a nifty new costume, the team is officially a team, and Kate is going to teach Noh-Varr the definition of ‘hot make-outs’ at some point in the future? Oh, and did I mention that the next issue is going to feature the return of Speed and, get this, David Alleyne?! Okay, this guy? He’s got my second favorite power, next to superspeed. Before the events of M-Day, he could absorb any knowledge from another person, though he’d end up forgetting it once they were out of range. His brain was later unlocked by the Stepford Cuckoos so that he’d be able to remember everything he’d ever learned. Granted, he’d never be able to learn anything new just by casting around for it, but still. I can’t even explain how excited I am for this guy to be in this book. Even more excited than I am about, say, Billy’s hot new costume:

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He is Donna Troy-ing this mother up. Gotta love a guy with the confidence to wear a galaxy on his hips.

The Flash was certainly a busy beaver this week. Aside from his guest spot in Justice League Dark and showing up briefly in the main Justice League title, his own book had more mystery, death, and intrigue than you could shake a Speed Force-imbued stick at! But first, an unpopular opinion that no one cares about: I really do like Barry and Patty together, as a couple. They seem to make each other happy. While Barry has literally crossed the ravages of time and space for Iris, their life together happened in a different world. A better world, most would argue, but not the world we’re going to be seeing for a good while. I’ve made my peace with this, to an extent. I’m still pretty damn mad about it, in some respects, but I’ve mostly made my peace. That being said: Barry, you’re living with your girlfriend now, who knows that you’re actually the Flash. This less-than-professional interest you seem to have in Iris, and that she seems to have in you, isn’t going to go unnoticed for long. Patty Spivot is one blonde you can not make dumb jokes about. The meat of this issue, despite rather misleading appearances on the cover, is about detective work. Investigations are in, brutal violence is out! Well, sort of. We do get a neat scene where Barry windmills a train into submission in pursuit of a super-powered suspect, but that’s about it. So! Four bodies went into the Speed Force, Marissa, Gomez, Albert, and Iris. Three developed powers, two are left alive. One is on the run, one is oblivious…and Barry thinks that now is a good time to finally go investigate Kid Flash?! Bubba, your priorities are seriously wonky. I will say, the dedication to Carmine Infantino was a nice touch. Memorial pages have been popping up in comics all month, but an actual dedication…didn’t think you still had that kind of class in you, DC.

That was this week in comics! If you’re able, be sure to also pick up All-Star Western for a taste of Booster Gold, and the second to last issue of Fionna and Cake! Things are really heating up there! Going to be honest, unless there’s something I’m forgetting, it doesn’t look like I’ll be getting any comics next week at all. Good for my wallet, bad for my soul! This may just call for a nifty little required reading list of my own…

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A woman’s house is her foe. Fortress. Wait, what was that first thing again?

DC, we need to have a serious talk about your priorities. As some of you may already be aware of, DC announced its decision to cancel Dial H and Demon Knights yesterday.

Monday, I decided that I was going to start reading Demon Knights, because so many people have recommended it to me.

But really, that’s neither here nor there right now. It’s the third week of the month, which means, you guessed it, ladies week is back! I really get excited for this day, you know. I mean, I’d prefer it if the titles were more spread out, rather than lumping them all together on one day, but it gives me a nifty way to coin it, so I’ll not complain.

First up, Supergirl! If there’s one thing to be said about Supergirl, when your sidekick is a sassy talking house, you can’t be doing too poorly. Until, that is, said house decides that you’re a clone and tries to kill you. That one can kind of lead to a pretty bad day. So, Sanctuary is the villain of this issue! Poor Kara, the girl just can’t catch a break. So, good things about this issue: the dialogue between Kara and Peeg is very natural and relaxed, even when it’s very obvious that Kara is under a lot of stress. I hope this leads to more interactions between my favorite Super-women. Then again, Helena and Damian met a few times, and that ended sort of…yeah. Bad things about this issue: They were fighting a…you know what? No. That’s awesome. It’s silly and campy, and it shows off both Kara’s strength and tactical brilliance, when she puts her mind to it. Supergirl fought her house in this month’s issue of her series, and it was fantastic.

So, I feel like I should mention, Lennox is Cassie Sandsmark’s father. It’s pretty obvious that the creative teams on Wonder Woman and Teen Titans communicate, because there’s no way that a panel like this:

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(from Teen Titans #19) could exist without that happening. Why do I mention that? Because Lennox really hates taking care of kids. No, lemme rephrase that. He seems to hate being responsible for lives other than his own. He’s a brawler, but ever since Diana ‘joined the family’, he’s been playing babysitter. Whether it’s for Zola, her baby, Zeke, or even Hera, he’s been having to watch out for someone weaker than himself, and it’s driving him crazy. Now, some of you may be wondering why I’m talking so much about Lennox, when this issue barely has him in it at all. Well, he’s basically my favorite character to come out of the reboot, and I feel like I never talk about him. The meat of this issue of Wonder Woman has Diana beating the crap out of her older sister, Artemis (as in the moon, not the blonde Amazon that was Wonder Woman for ten minutes once), and then some more politics among gods. It’s a good, solid issue that showcases both the strength and cunning of our protagonist, while setting up the next issue at the final pages. The Firstborn is finally entering the fracas! Oh, and as it turns out? The woman he’s been chilling with is family, too! Man, I remember hearing that in Greek mythology, you couldn’t swing a dead cat without hitting one of Zeus’ kids, but damn!

I feel like I haven’t been talking up Batwoman enough, lately. Wonder Woman is about a family of gods, so I feel like it’s always a good idea to end on a family of mortals, and there’s no one out there more mortal than Kate Kane. Her sister, on the other hand…but I’ll get to that. The triumph of Batwoman is that it exists. No, really. How many books with female leads have been cancelled since the beginning of the reboot? How many books have come and gone, yet this one persists…and thrives. It doesn’t hurt that the story itself is based almost entirely in pre-reboot canon, and that aside from bearing the name and the logo of the Bat, Kate has very little to do with him. The series hasn’t crossed over with any other book yet, so far, though characters from other books have come in to play. Batwoman, as a series, is a standalone book that sells. It’s usually in the top 100 comics on any given month, and its creative team is exclusive to it. Batwoman is a prime example of DC doing a book right the first time (though if I’m being perfectly honest, I really do miss Amy Reeder on the art). Onto this issue. The DEO’s reason for entering Kate’s life is finally reaching its endgame. In exchange for the privacy of her family, and her recently-reborn sister, Batwoman is going to unmask the Batman. The Batwoman family joins together for the first time, and Christ on a bike, this new arc is going to be incredible.

My wrists are dead from five hours of typing (don’t ask), my brain is dead from three hours of sorting, and I really, really hope that all of this made some semblance of sense. I’ll be seeing y’all next week when we take a look at Flash, Batman Inc, and Young Avengers. 

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DC Comics wants you to buy graphic novels! Buy them in droves!

I didn’t get any comics for reviewing today, as I’ve dropped Batman, Batman and Robin, and Suicide Squad. But, I did pick up a little thing that I’m fully prepared to tear to shreds.

Okay, so DC put this giant free thing out recently:

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HRMM.

So, there are several parts to this 117-page monstrosity. The first part is the 25 Essential DC Graphic Novels.

I feel like I should point out now that of these 25 graphic novels, four are by Geoff Johns, two are by Frank Miller, three are by Grant Morrison, and a whopping five are by Alan Moore. There are no female creators on any of these books. Six are alternate-universe stories that don’t connect in any way to the main DCU. Eight are Vertigo titles. Two are event books from the last six years. 

Then they have a section where they list all of the first volumes of the New 52 books. Twelve pages of New 52. Not all the New 52 books are essential, DC, especially when 19 of those books have been cancelled so far.

Oh, this is fun. They’ve got a Batman section, a Superman section, a Green Lantern section, a Flash section, a Green Arrow section, a Justice League…and a Women of DC section. Wow, burn. And guess what else?! All the other sections mention the first volume of their New 52 books, too! They just had an entire section dedicated to the New 52, this is ridiculous. But the Women of DC section…five New 52 first volumes, the two Wonder Woman: Odyssey volumes, one non-canon Catwoman story, and Batwoman: Elegy. No Birds of Prey volumes, no Cassandra Cain or Stephanie Brown Batgirl, no Manhunter, no Power Girl. The Women of DC section is two pages and nine books long, the only singular characters with smaller sections are Flash and Green Arrow.

Moving on to Vertigo! Three pages of miscellaneous Vertigo books, then  literally the entire Sandman series, the entire Fables series, the entire Y: The Last Man series, a whole page for Alan Moore, and a whole page for Grant Morrison. Vertigo over! Onto two pages dedicated to MAD magazine, and another two pages for DC all ages stuff. The remaining 21 pages are just a checklist/rehash of the books they’ve already shown us, and a ‘suggested reading order’.

DC, I…

Okay, look. I understand that you want people to buy your books, and that you want to give new readers some sort of starting point, but this isn’t the way to go about it. For one thing, at least 22 of your 25 essential graphic novels are either no longer canon, or never had any relation at all to the universe you’re trying to promote. Ditto for at least 9 of your 20 Batman books, 18 of your 20 Superman books, three of your five Flash books, four of your five Green Arrow books, nine of your ten Justice League books, and 3 of the 4 non-52 related Women of DC books. Congratulations on your Green Lantern section, though, as 90% of your Green Lantern continuity made it into the New 52 intact in the first place.

This book you made, this tome of tomes, it’s disappointing. You could have really pointed people in the right direction with some of your mainstream books, but you didn’t. There’s no New Teen Titans on there in any real prominence. Batgirl: Year One, probably the best Babsgirl story of all time, was left out entirely (bring this book back into print, DC. People will buy it!). And while I understand that you’re really, really trying to ignore the fact that Cassandra Cain, Stephanie Brown, and Wally West existed, you can’t ignore the fact that the trades of their books sold like crazy. Aside from the stupidly expensive Geoff Johns omnibus versions of Wally’s series (which, surprise surprise, are on your big checklist), my LCS can’t keep Wally-era Flash books on the shelf. And I dare you to try and find Batgirl: Silent Running or Batgirl: Batgirl Rising in a comic shop. Can’t be done around here, totally sold out. Hell, the same can be said for the amazing No Man’s Land Batman story! That thing was recently reprinted, and people went nuts over it. You lot have so many great stories that aren’t under your New 52 banner (Crisis on Infinite Earths! Judas Contract! Sins of Youth! All of Gotham Central! The Harley Quinn series! Cooke and Brubaker’s Catwoman! Manhunter! Connor and Palmiotti’s Power Girl! The JLI volumes! Jaime’s first series! Impulse! 90s Superboy! Booster Gold!), but no new reader is even going to know any of it exists unless you tell them. 

DC, you say certain characters are iconic, that these are the characters that everyone knows. Well, of course they are! My grammy hasn’t picked up a comic book in at least 50 years, and she knows who Dick Grayson is. My mom read Wonder Woman comics back when she lost her powers and ran a mod clothing store. My neighbor remembers Hal Jordan back when his weakness was a banana to the face. If you keep showing people the same characters over and over, that’s all they’re gonna know. Take some chances. You made Under the Hood into an animated movie, and guess what? It was a hit! Why not do the same with, say, No Man’s Land? Make a series of films! You did it for that Frank Miller book, your “Greatest Batman Story Ever Told”. Do a Gotham Central live-action series. Get New Teen Titans: Judas Contract out of development hell and into the studio already. Try something new! You may not have a hit every time…but then again, maybe you will.

There are new audiences out there, DC. Young and old. Male and female and both and neither. Folks of all races, and religions, and walks of life that wanna be entertained.

Take a chance. Stop betting on the same old horse and tell a good story. The response may surprise you.

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This just in: Buddy Baker to appear in the next season of Dancing With the Stars

Breathe deep, folks. It’s May. We’ve only got a few days before it loses that new-month smell. Of course, this also means that it’s a one-book week and- hold on. Who said new Gail Simone-penned series? Who said? DC said? Well, alright then.

It’s movie time, again! Remember waaaay back in issue 6, where we got to “see” the first half of Buddy’s superhero movie, Tights? Well, fourteen issues later, we get to see the rest of it. Frankly, I thought it was a nice break. We get to see Buddy in his first profession, actor, and his current profession, superhero in mourning. Oh, and guess what? He’s been nominated for an Oscar! Neat, right? While I’m still dying to see Buddy and Ellen get back together, and have Maxine back in the comic, I think I can settle for this.

I’m going to get my classiest comment out of the way first thing: The Movement sounds like a trip to the toilet. There we go. I’m done. Prop me up on the cross on your way out. Now, then. I had high hopes for The Movement. Gail Simone does great work with mainstream heroes, her Birds of Prey run being one of my favorite runs on anything of all time, but her best work is off the beaten path. Her Gen 13 reboot, her Secret Six reboot, her Rose and Thorn reboot, her creator-owned series Welcome to Tranquility…I can go on. Since DC took a paint roller to their whole universe, Gail Simone has suffered. Creatively, I mean, not monetarily. Probably.
I mean, Batgirl is the most popular and best-selling female-lead title, and I don’t doubt that Ms. Simone’s popularity as a writer hurt that fact. I mean, the woman was kicked off the title, then reinstated within a week of her canning. That’s fan power, right there. In any case, aside from Batgirl, which I gave up reading long ago, Gail has worked on Fury of Firestorm  for six issues…and that’s it. Keep in mind, she’s been working for DC exclusively for several years, and only now that her contract has expired is she even allowed to accept writing gigs from other comic companies (she’ll be writing Red Sonja for Dynamite starting this year), yet she’s been sorely underused. Let me put it this way: in 2012, Rob Liefeld and Scott Lobdell had more to do at DC than Gail Simone did. Yeah. Think about that.
Now, onto The Movement. What is it? I…have no idea. Is it a super-team? Is it an ersatz Anonymous for the DC Universe? I mean, it’s obviously something, but what? 
Okay. So, there’s this thing called Channel M. Using technologically advanced…camera masks? They watch for corruption in the police force and crime on the streets. The masks then summon the super-team, The Movement. The Movement is made up of four teenagers so far: The rat-summoning Mouse, the emotion-reading Virtue, the winged, hard-punching badass Katharsis, and…holy shit, is that Tremor, from Secret Six? That’s totally a de-aged Tremor! Simone, you sneak!
Right then! If this first issue is anything to go by, The Movement is about stopping corruption and protecting your own neighborhood, by any means possible. I can roll with that.

And that was this week in comics! Hawkeye also flew onto, and off of, the new stand this week, and it looks like we’ve got a new villain origin in it! Tune in next week for- uh. Oh. Well. I dropped Batman, as well as Batman and Robin, Superboy, Suicide Squad, and Threshold. I, I don’t think anything is coming out from Marvel, either? Hm.

Tune in next week for some kind of rant that I pull directly from my brain at the last minute, most likely while intoxicated!

Yeesh, that’s sure professional. 

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